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Francophone east

Bouchées: a ‘new way of eating’ at Maison Bleue

Maison Bleue has expanded the boundaries of Gallic cooking and is building a mini-empire of its own. Words: Barry Shelby

can Gassabi. chef and proprietor of lidinburgh's Maison Bleue. is on the verge of expanding his successful business. Five years after launching the popular Victoria Street restaurant (formerly called Bleu). he anticipates opening four more branches in the L'K.

Three will offer Maison Bleue‘s trademark ‘new way of

eating' south of the border. while another is envisaged for Edinburgh‘s New Town.

(iassabi's two-floor flagship near the (irassmarket has a distinctive feel. with evocative candle-lit. rough-hewn. unvarnished tables. and high-backed wicker chairs amid stone columns and arches. Maison Bleue‘s innovative menu is divided between ‘bouchees‘ (meaning. literally. mouthfuls) and dishes offering larger portions listed under the heading ‘bouchees doubles'.

Options on the recently revamped selection range from Thai-flavoured fish balls and North African-style brochettes to supreme of chicken ‘choucroute style‘. where a breast of free range chicken is served on a bed of choux (cabbage) with saucissons and (iruyere cheese sauce.

Here. (iassabi offers two of his favourite recipes.


This is one of our most popular dishes. great as a starter or

main course and the different flavours make it very surprising. The preparation regiiires a deep fryer for the calamari and a

wok for the pepper mix. Ideally. cook both elements of the

recipe simultane0usly.


About 12 small calamari

4 mixed peppers

1 green chilli

1 red chilli

1 bunch of finely chopped flat parsley

114 THE LIST :6!) ()cl iii Nt)‘. 27):,3

12 okras

4 spring onions

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon chilli

100 grams corn flour

Light soy sauce


1 lemon

Sesame oil or normal vegetable oil


Remove the Spine from the calamari (or have the fishmonger do it first). Clean the squid but do not worry about the ink as it adds to the flavours: cut the tubular body into small rings but keep the tentacles whole.

Pour the corn flour in a deep bowl. adding cumin. chilli and chopped parsley. Mix together. Toss the calamari to coat all surfaces and leave for a minute or two.

For the pepper mix. cut the peppers in long. thin (5mm) strips and chop the chilli into very fine rings. Boil the okra in unsalted water for about five minutes. drain and then mix with the peppers and chillies. finally adding chopped spring onions. Cooking instructions Heat one tablespoon of the sesame oil in the wok until very hot. saute the pepper mix for one minute. keeping it crunchy. add two teaspoons of light soy sauce and sprinkle with a little Tabasco.

At the same time. deep fry the flow-coated calamari in a very hot deep fryer until light golden. then remove and add to the pepper mix and saute. Season to yOur liking but remember that the soy sauce is already salty.

Serving suggestions

We serve this dish on a bed of frisee. Spinach and roguette salad. with an olive oil and garlic dressing. With a quarter of a lemon. Enjoy.

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Sideliislies News to nibble on . . .

I A WINTER FOOD FAIR WILL be held on Saturday and Sunday. 1 and 2 November from 11am to 5pm at the New Lanark World Heritage Site. This year the event will emphasise organic and locally produced foods. Last year some 2,000 people attended the fair in the 18th century village established by the industrialist and social pioneer Robert Owen. ‘The Fair provides a great opportunity to purchase foods straight from the producers.‘ says Malcolm Booth of the New Lanark Conservation Trust.

I PASTA FRESCA IS A NEW cafe opened by the Gourmet Pasta shop next to its outlet in the North Bridge Arcade, Edinburgh. Open till 6pm Sunday to Wednesday and 9pm on Thursday to Saturday, the dining space has several pasta dishes under £6, plus wines and beers.

I IF YOU CAN SWING A sentence and know the difference between panna cotta and Pasta alla Puttanesca or can distinguish halibut from haddock (plus understand that either can be cooked without batter and in something other than a deep fryer) - then you might be just the person that The List is looking for. The magazine is Currently recruiting new writers to review hundreds of restaurants, bistros. cafes and bars in Edinburgh and Glasgow for its annual Eating & Drinking Guide. Please see the recruitment advertisement in subsequent pages for details on applications. which must be back to us by 7 November.

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